CCE of Yates Co. launches annual ‘Friends of Extension’ fundraiser

Staff reports
The Chronicle Express

PENN YAN — Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) continues to be vital to the cultural and economic well-being of our region. From what we eat and drink to how we use our natural, financial, and personal resources, Cornell Cooperative Extension touches the lives of adults and children throughout Yates County. 

CCE 'Friends of Extension' flyer.

Your support is needed to ensure that CCE can continue to meet the emerging needs of this challenging time. Our programs help to build a stronger community as well as contributing to the success of individuals and families. 

CCE Yates County is a 501c3 not-for-profit, educational institution, and your gift is essential to our ongoing success. 

Please make a difference by becoming a Friend of Cornell Cooperative Extension. Online donations can be made at 

Yates CCE’s COVID-19 Response

An unforeseen pandemic required quick, response to evolving needs: 

Youth Programming – staff developed and disseminated over 800 Youth Activity booklets, for some non-screen time indoor and outdoor activity. Project kits [woodworking, paper crafts, sewing, and gardening] were created and are still available from the office. Our local 4-H found a way to Yates County Fair Re-Imagined, balancing social distancing with animal shows and exhibits. 4-H provided fowl, rabbit, goat, dog and shows at the County Fairgrounds. A traveling exhibit provided a safe way for people to see the great projects created by Yates County Youth. Teen leadership gathered to implement a community service project, making fleece winter blankets. Online workshops, cooking classes and demonstrations were created on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Agriculture – local staff and area team members worked with NYS Agriculture and Markets to develop and share the latest education on ways to increase safety for agricultural businesses [farm stands, vegetable producers, dairy producers] and their migrant workers. The Yates County Guide for Managers of Migrant Workers [a joint venture with the County Health Department and the Farm Bureau] was distributed to local growers and shared statewide through the Farm Bureau’s network and Extension’s network. On-Farm Readiness Reviews were provided to local farmers, and the new publication Yates County Farm Update went from a planned quarterly publication to bimonthly, then weekly. Finger Lakes Farm Country agritourism website was launched and promoted local agriculture businesses; daily social media postings of Cornell online training, webinars to get the latest N.Y.S. Guidelines on all aspects of agriculture and N.Y. Phased Opening updates were shared faithfully.

Gardening – CCE staff responded to local food insecurity concerns, providing four times the usual amount of seed kits. Gardening tips transitioned from in-person classes to online videos [pruning trees, planting potatoes, border flowers] and Facebook gardening video series [Seed Journey, How My Garden Grows] reaching two hundred viewers per episode. Gardening Matters newsletter continued its second year, focusing on answering questions on best practices for growing plants. Container garden kits were also distributed to over two hundred Yates county seniors, youth, and families. 

Lake Preservation – staff continued volunteer recruitment and training in Harmful Algal Bloom detection/testing with the Shoreline Monitoring Program. Coalition projects [starry stonewort] continue to develop evolving strategies on ways to keep the lakes clean. The Watercraft Steward Program pivoted, developing PPE protocols and social distancing to conduct inspections and provide education to prevent invasive species from impacting Keuka Lake (and surrounding waterways). From Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day, 10,108 watercrafts were inspected, and 27,086 individuals were encountered, an increase of approximately 30% from 2019.

Quality of Life – case management was provided via phone and social distancing, to help Yates county residents use stimulus funds wisely and link them to area resources.

Terrestrial Invasive Species & Forestry – resources and education on spotted lanternfly, emerald ash borer, and swallowwort continued. Phone call volumes quadrupled for the identification of invasive species and strategies for maintaining trees, shrubs, and other plants. Videos were created, and several online ZOOM workshops were held, to address tree concerns for Middlesex/Naples residents.

Cornell Cooperative Extension is an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities and provides equal program and employment opportunities.